Chiang Mai has a reputation as one of the best places to buy stuff in Thailand.
Given that I'm leaving here on the 28th, today was my last Sunday Market (the major shopping event)... and while I saw loads and loads of 'stuff' - clothing, jewellery, etc that would make perfect gifts for people and general purchases for myself, I just can't do it.
After 2 hours of strolling, I managed to buy 5 loofahs (25 cents total) and 20 floating bath candles. That's it.
I'd like to say that after 8 months of backpacking, that I'm so used to living out of my backpack that I'm now beyond the materialness of buying nice looking clothes. Everything I have is functional, and gets thrown/given away when it's not needed anymore (For example, now that i'm staying in Fancy hotels all the way till my departure from Thailand, I managed to even give away my travelling bedsheets, laundered of course, to a fellow backpacker).
However, a more realistic explaination is probably that I'm suffering from choice fatigue. The fact is that backpacking, especially by yourself, is an excercise in selfishness. Within the confines of the country you're in, you do essentially whatever you want. And with 8 months to work with, and a fairly healthy budget, I essentially had free choice from thousands of options (where to go, what to do, who to be with, what to eat, what to wear, how long to stay, blah blah blah).
Combined with the hundreds of possible things you can buy here, that maybe i'm suffering from choice-overload. I'm so used to contemplating major choices (which town next), that the choice between red and blue pants is too much - andso I don't buy anything.
However, this attitude, if extended to its logical conclusion, would mean that I'll
arrive back to the US gift-less. Which will probably make me an asshole.
Luckily, i've managed to paint myself into a lucky corner....
I'm booked on a flight with Air Asia on the 28th from Chiang Mai to Bangkok - a dirt cheap, no frills airline, that only allows a single checked-bag of 15kgs...
If I start buying gifts here in Chiang Mai, my bag will rapidly become overweight, and thus I'll have to pay through the nose.
Thus, I'll really only have that one day in Bangkok to buy a few gifts. Spiffy. No major shopping.